Events are such a great way to showcase your personal brand and connect with the audiences that matter to you. Holding the event is one thing, but getting people to show up and maximise the PR opportunity is a whole other thing!

I wanted to share with you the publicity strategy for my recent solo exhibition . It’s not every day (or every year) that a room full of my sculptures are on display, so it was critical that I maximised the opportunity to not only get people through the door but increase my exposure as an artist.

Here is an outline of the strategy I developed for my exhibition which you can apply to nearly any event or opening.

Get great visuals
Before you do anything, get great photos! Visuals are so important for marketing any event.  Images help your audience understand and relate to your event.

You will use the images across all of your marketing and PR material. Trust me; having high-resolution professional photos on hand to send straightaway to any journalist who asks for them will be a life saver.

Don’t forget you can also do a video as well. In the lead up to my exhibition, I did a video on the making of one of my sculptures which I shared on social media.

Write a media release
Journalists need to receive information about your event in a certain way – and a media release is the best way to do that. In the release add images, where and when the exhibition is being held and details about it. (Take a look at the release for my exhibition here and for a free media release template go here.

Local news love local talent
Local papers love writing about the latest local talent from their area. Research the details of the local newspapers, magazines and even radio stations for where you live and where the exhibition or event is being held. Then send the media release and images to the editors or producers at those outlets. Chances are they’ll want to run a feature piece if the idea is interesting enough, either as a ‘profiling the local’ piece or a ‘What’s on’ piece.

 List your event
Major and local newspapers and event sites are always looking for interesting events to put in their ‘What’s on’ sections. Do your research and provide generic information about your event: what, when, where, cost, and a short description. Find the journalists that look after the ‘What’s On’ section and email them the information directly, or many online sites have forms you simply fill in. This takes some time but it’s definitely worth doing to boost the reach of your event.

Find media that relate to your event niche
For my exhibition, I knew there were media outlets that write about art and craft. I did some research and sent them release with a bunch images. For example, if your event is on technology, then look up the tech journalists and send them the release (and invite them!)

Writing articles
Think about telling your art stories by writing articles for publications. I wrote an article about what happened when I stopped looking for balance and instead discovered my creativity for Women’s Agenda. I also wrote an article about my art practice and basketry process for Textile Fibre Forum.

Other media angles
Think beyond your exhibition or event, what else would the media be interested in? Some other media angles I used were: Leading female entrepreneur by day, inspiring sculptural basket maker by night; the rise of sculptural basketry – craft now viewed as a form of art; art/sculpture as a form of mindfulness: the impact of the slow movement; and finally the shift from technology to grassroots connections – using recycled material as a form of art.

To see some of the media coverage for my exhibition go here.

Marketing
While many people no longer think to produce a printed flyer, I certainly think it's worth considering. For my exhibition, I printed postcard size flyers as well as created a digital version (PNG file). The digital version was shared via email as well as on Facebook and Instagram. The printed version I handed out (I kept a stash in my handbag) and also left them at local cafes and art centres.

Social media
Ah, social media. Love it or hate it, it’s perfect to promote an event. I used it to create excitement about my exhibition by posting images of sculptures throughout the creating process. Each time I finished a sculpture I posted it on Facebook and Instagram.

On Facebook share your event information not just on your page (and not just once – do it multiple times) but also on niche pages. For me it was Basketry NSW, Australian Basketry group, interior designers, CraftNSW and others.  Create an event on Facebook and invite your friends and ask your friends to share it.

Instagram is so perfect for many events as it’s just a series of images. Share your work, use hashtags effectively and direct message influencers. Follow other Instagrammers that are in your niche, many will follow you back.

Events are such an important part of building your personal brand, and at times promoting your own event can feel self promotional. But you need to move beyond those feelings and understand that the more marketing and PR you do, the more people can see the beauty of your work.

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Catriona Pollard
From Unknown To Expert
CP Communications

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